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ECONOMICS

Paper 2281/01
Multiple Choice


Question
Number
Key
Question
Number
Key
1 A 21 B
2 C 22 C
3 C 23 D
4 C 24 D
5 B 25 A

6 A 26 C
7 A 27 D
8 D 28 D
9 A 29 C
10 D 30 D

11 A 31 A
12 D 32 B
13 B 33 A
14 B 34 C
15 D 35 C

16 C 36 C
17 D 37 C
18 B 38 C
19 C 39 D
20 C 40 B


General comments

11,603 candidates took this paper in November 2008 and the mean score was 20.8, very similar to
November 2007 when it was 20.1 and almost identical to November 2006 when it was 20.6.

81% chose the correct answer for Question 10, 82% for Question 13 and 84% for Question 15, which is a
higher percentage than would be expected on an examination such as this. All these questions tested the
candidates ability to apply their knowledge to particular situations. It is to their credit that so many were able
to answer these questions correctly.

The questions with the lowest percentage of candidates choosing the correct answer were 3, 32 and 34.

Question 3 was the most difficult question on the paper with only 15% of candidates choosing the correct
answer, C. 41% of candidates chose A, 30% chose B and 14% chose D. The extra machinery would
increase the firms cost but the reduction in the workforce would lower the cost. As we are not told the
relative amounts of each change the outcome of the cost change is uncertain. Productivity would rise as
production increases with fewer workers.

2281 Economics November 2008
1 UCLES 2008
For Question 32, 28% chose the correct answer B, 6% chose A, 37% chose C and 28% chose D. If the
candidates were considering only the last column there might be an explanation why they chose D which has
the highest value in 2005. However, more candidates chose C than either D or the correct option B. There
is no obvious reason for this.

For Question 34, 23% of the candidates chose the correct answer, C. 28% of candidates chose A, 22%
chose B and 26% chose D. It is likely that these relatively close percentage figures would indicate that
candidates were guessing.
2281 Economics November 2008
2 UCLES 2008
ECONOMICS


Paper 2281/02
Paper 4 (Extended)


General comments

The quality of the answers varied greatly. There were some very good answers from a number of
candidates who demonstrated a sound knowledge and understanding of economics and a sensible and
mature ability to discuss, analyse and evaluate a number of key economic concepts and issues. There were
also, however, some rather weak answers where the candidates failed to demonstrate very much knowledge
or understanding.

There were relatively few rubric errors, although some candidates did answer all seven questions on the
examination paper when the requirement was to answer Question 1 in Section A and three other questions
from Section B. This meant that a great deal of valuable time in the examination was wasted.

Candidates need to pay close attention to the precise wording of the question, especially in terms of the
particular command or directive word being used. For example, if the question asks the candidate to
describe something, as in Question 4(c) where candidates were required to describe how a persons income
is likely to change during their life, or to outline something, as in Question 2(c) where candidates were
required to outline the functions of a central bank, then he or she simply needs to write a relatively brief
answer. However, if the question requires the candidate to analyse something, as in Question 2(d) where
candidates were required to analyse how a central bank might influence consumer saving, or to discuss
something, as in Question 4(d) where candidates were required to discuss what might determine why one
job is paid more than another, he or she needs to go into much more detail, often giving two sides of an
argument and then coming to a logical and reasoned conclusion.

Candidates also need to look very closely at the number of marks given to each part of a question as this
gives a clear indication of how much detail is required and how much time should be taken to answer it. For
example, Question 1(a) was given just three marks whereas Question 6(b) was allocated seven marks.


Comments on specific questions

Question 1

(a) Most candidates were able to state what is shown in a population pyramid - the age of people, the
gender of people and the particular time period of the information provided.

(b) The majority of candidates were able to describe what the prediction suggested would happen in
Botswana by 2050. It was likely that the number in the lower age range would decline, those in the
middle age range would increase and that those in the higher age range would increase slightly for
males but not for females (except for those aged 80 or above). There was also a possibility that
there would be a decline in the overall population.

(c) (i) Most candidates were able to draw an outline shape of a population pyramid for a typical
developed country to show how it might differ from those given for Botswana. The key
differences were likely to be a greater proportion of people in the older age ranges and a
smaller proportion of people in the younger age ranges. Some of the diagrams were well
drawn and fully labelled, but some of them were either very badly drawn or very poorly
labelled (or, in some cases, both).
2281 Economics November 2008
3 UCLES 2008
(ii) There were some good explanations of what might cause the difference in the shape of the
population pyramid of a developed and a developing country. The difference will essentially
reflect the various birth and death rates which are likely to be lower in a developed than a
developing country, and candidates offered some good explanations of the reasons for these
different rates, such as in terms of health care and social conditions. There were also some
interesting explanations in terms of differences in migration.

(d) In this part of the question, candidates were required to discuss how an improvement in education
in a developing country such as Botswana might have an effect on its population. Candidates
discussed how this could lead to an improvement in knowledge of health matters and of family
planning. A number of candidates went further and discussed macro factors, such as how this
could give rise to greater employment opportunities, leading to an increase in GDP per capita and
general living standards.

Question 2

(a) The majority of candidates were able to explain why different income groups might have a different
pattern of spending and saving. They pointed out that the higher income groups would be likely to
spend a higher proportion on luxuries and to save quite a lot of their income whereas the lower
income groups would be likely to spend a higher proportion on basic necessities and to save very
little, if any, of their income. One weakness in some of the answers, however, was a failure to offer
any explanation of saving, focusing exclusively on spending. A few candidates completely
misunderstood what was required and wrote about why different people received different incomes,
saying nothing about spending or saving.

(b) Most candidates were able to discuss a number of factors that might influence government
spending, such as the amount of revenue raised from taxation to finance the spending, the need to
encourage economic growth, the aim of reducing unemployment, the desire to control the rate of
inflation and the objective of trying to achieve an equilibrium in the balance of payments.

(c) There were some good answers to this question with candidates outlining a number of functions of
a central bank, such as the issuing of notes and coins, the control of the money supply, the setting
of interest rates and the role of lender of last resort. Some candidates, however, completely failed
to appreciate that the question concerned the functions of central banks and wrote instead about
the functions of commercial banks.

(d) Many candidates were able to offer a good analysis of how a central bank might influence
consumer saving, especially in relation to changes in interest rates. Some, however, made the
same error as in the previous part of the question and wrote entirely about commercial banks.

Question 3

(a) There were some good explanations of why Kuwait might want to seek new markets when it
increased its oil production. Candidates generally understood that there would be an increase in
supply, causing prices to fall. There would, therefore, be a need to try and increase demand to
bring the price back to its original level. It would also be necessary to increase revenue to recover
the expenditure on the new port extension. The question did not explicitly ask for a demand and
supply diagram to be included, but many candidates did include one, helping to substantiate the
explanation offered.

(b) Most candidates were able to clearly distinguish between fixed and variable costs and were able to
provide appropriate examples of each. Many correctly argued that fixed costs were likely to have
the highest proportion in the production and distribution of oil, although some candidates offered a
very sophisticated argument that fixed costs would have the highest proportion in the production of
oil, but that variable costs might have the highest proportion in its distribution.

(c) The majority of candidates were able to explain what was meant by a substitute good and a
complimentary good and although most gave examples of each connected with oil, a few offered
examples which had nothing at all to do with oil.
2281 Economics November 2008
4 UCLES 2008
(d) Most candidates were able to explain what was meant by price elasticity of demand, although
some got confused as to what was causing what. In other words, a few candidates wrote about a
change in price in response to a change in demand. There were some good answers in terms of
using the concept to discuss what might happen in the market for oil if the price of oil was raised,
stressing that demand was likely to be price inelastic. The question did not explicitly require a
diagram to be drawn, but many candidates did include one and used it to good effect in assisting
the explanation.

Question 4

(a) The majority of candidates were able to explain in what type of business organisation the two
occupations might be found, arguing that a laboratory technician would be likely to work for a multi-
national public limited company and a secretary/receptionist would be likely to work for a sole
trader or partnership. A few candidates were confused by the term business organisation and
wrote about the sector that the different occupations would be working in.

(b) This part of the question was answered reasonably well by the majority of candidates who were
able to explain a number of factors that might affect an individuals choice of occupation, such as
wages, promotion and career prospects, pension provision, working conditions and proximity to
home.

(c) Many candidates were able to describe how a persons income would be likely to change during
their life, starting on a fairly low income, then increasing as a result of promotion, experience and
perhaps additional qualifications, and then finally falling back again in retirement.

(d) The majority of candidates were able to discuss a number of factors which might determine why
one job is paid more than another, such as in relation to skills, qualifications, training, experience,
public or private sector and occupational sector. However, the better answers went beyond this
descriptive approach to bring in a consideration of demand and supply factors.

Question 5

(a) Most candidates were able to distinguish between private sector and public sector investment
spending, giving appropriate examples of each. For example, private sector investment spending
might involve tools, equipment, machinery and factories, whereas public sector investment
spending might include schools, hospitals and road construction.

(b) The majority of candidates were able to explain why investment spending would be important for
an economy, focusing on its contribution to the increase in income, employment, economic growth,
standard of living and quality of life.

(c) This was answered well by the majority of candidates who stressed that a market economy
involved producers and consumers without any government interference, with the allocation of
resources determined by the price mechanism, whereas a mixed economy brought in the
government in a variety of different ways, such as through the provision of public and merit goods.

(d) This proved to be quite a difficult question for many candidates, although some of them were able
to offer a clear explanation of how economic growth might change the relative importance of the
primary, secondary and service sectors. In other words, the primary sector would continue to
decline, the secondary sector would first grow and then begin to decline and the service sector
would continue to grow.

Question 6

(a) The majority of candidates were able to correctly define inflation as a persistent or sustained rise in
the general level of prices in a country over a specific period of time.

(b) There were some very good explanations of how inflation is measured, with candidates explaining
the various elements of the process including the use of an index, a base year, a basket of goods
and services and the need to weight the different items in terms of their relative importance. A few
candidates misunderstood what was required and instead of writing about how inflation could be
measured, wrote about the causes of inflation instead.
2281 Economics November 2008
5 UCLES 2008
(c) Most candidates were able to describe two reasons why there might be a change in the level of
unemployment in a country, either in terms of an increase or decrease. The reasoning was related
to various types of unemployment, including seasonal, structural, frictional, cyclical and
technological.

(d) There were some very good discussions of why governments might be concerned to keep the rate
of unemployment low, such as to encourage economic growth, to keep down the expenditure on
unemployment benefits (allowing money to be spent on other programmes; a good example of
opportunity cost), to maintain the revenue received from taxation and to keep down the crime rate.

Question 7

(a) There were some good explanations of why developing countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania,
might need the intervention of foreign companies, such as to provide necessary capital, to improve
the skills of the workers and to overcome corrupt practices.

(b) It was pleasing to see a number of well balanced answers to this part of the question, with many
candidates considering the potential advantages of multi-national companies, then discussing the
possible disadvantages and finally offering a reasoned conclusion as to whether they were likely to
be beneficial for a country or not.

(c) Most candidates were able to explain two policies a country might use in international trade to
protect its home industries, such as tariffs, quotas and subsidies.

(d) It seemed to be the case that many of the answers to this part of the question on natural resources
were better than in previous years. Candidates were generally able to offer a consideration of both
points of view, contrasting the arguments in favour of the exploitation of natural resources with
those in favour of their conservation, before coming to a reasoned and logical conclusion.
2281 Economics November 2008
6 UCLES 2008